Given that much of Japan has four very distinct seasons, seasonality plays a very important role in much of Japanese culture, and washoku is no exception. The peak season of a particular ingredient is called its shun (旬) and the shun of popular foods are passionately anticipated each year. The importance of shun extends far beyond fruits and vegetables; fish holds a supremely important position in the cuisine of Japan, as might be expected from being a long archipelago surrounded by the sea on all sides.
Living in a country blessed with four seasons and an abundance of bounty from the sea and soil, the Japanese people have always deeply valued nature and have developed a very distinctive culture and lifestyle. One of the most prized aspects of this culture is washoku (traditional Japanese cuisine), which revolves around respect for this natural bounty and preparing it in a way that maximizes the natural flavor of the ingredients as much as possible.
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